Rocket attack on air base near Baghdad wounds 4 Iraqi servicemen, officials say

An Iraqi air force officer and three enlisted men were wounded Sunday in a rocket attack targeting Balad Air Base just north of Baghdad, where American trainers were present until recently, Iraqi military officials said.

Some of the rockets fell on a restaurant inside the base, located some 50 miles north of Baghdad, the officials added. The attack involved eight rockets in all.

No group immediately claimed responsibility.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in a tweet Sunday that he was “outraged” by the attacks.

“Outraged by reports of another rocket attack on an Iraqi airbase,” he tweeted. “I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured and call on the government of Iraq to hold those responsible for these attacks accountable.”

He added in a second tweet, “These continued violations of Iraq’s sovereignty by groups not loyal to the Iraqi government must end.”

No Americans were at the air base during the attack, according to a coalition spokesperson.

The base had hosted American trainers, advisers and a company providing maintenance services for F-16 aircraft, according to an Iraqi defense official.

The attack came just days after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq housing U.S. forces. No Americans were said to have been injured.

An Iraqi army soldier standing guard near a U.S.- made Iraqi Air Force F-16 fighter jet at Iraq's Balad Air Base, the site of a rocket attack Sunday. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

An Iraqi army soldier standing guard near a U.S.- made Iraqi Air Force F-16 fighter jet at Iraq's Balad Air Base, the site of a rocket attack Sunday. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

The U.S. and Iran recently stepped back from escalating tensions following the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general, in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad. A senior Iraqi leader of an Iran-backed militia also was killed.

Iran’s retaliatory attack for Soleimani’s death hit two Iraqi bases, Ain al-Asad and Irbil, where American troops are based.

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The limited Iranian strikes appeared to be mainly a show of force, and deescalated tensions that had threatened to turn Iraq into a proxy battlefield.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.